A TERMINALLY ill Gourock man kept his last promise to his wife — and lived long enough to celebrate their Golden Wedding.

Alan Duncan toasted 50 years of marriage to the love of his life Val, surrounded by family and friends, on September 2. 
But sadly the 74-year-old grandad lost his six month battle with leukaemia only five weeks later.

His wife Val led the tributes to her devoted husband, who was a leading architect with one of the country’s biggest firms and helped design iconic buildings like the SECC.

During his working life and in retirement Alan was very active in the community — and used his creative talents to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Val, of Castle Levan, said: “Alan was determined to live to celebrate our Golden Wedding and he managed to do that. It was a wonderful day.

“Alan was a good, honest man and so talented.

“Alan cared so much and was involved in everything.

“He was so positive and he never complained even when his illness was at its worst.

“People used to ask how he was and he would always reply ‘I’m still here!’”

Alan had suffered from ill health in recent years but the family were stunned when he was told in April that he had acute myloid leukaemia.

He underwent four months of gruelling treatment before doctors told him that there was nothing more they could do.
He lost his fight for life on October 25 leaving behind Val, son Stewart, 45, daughter Sally, 41, son-in-law Vincent, and his three grandsons Andrew, 19, Jamie, 13, and Harrison, five.
For the family it was their second tragic loss in a year after Stewart lost his wife Susan in June 2016.

She died after a 12-year battle with cancer, leaving behind their sons Andrew and Jamie.

Val, 73, said: “It has been a terrible year after losing Susan, who had been ill for such a long time.

“Then we lost Alan.

“After Susan died I made sure everyone came round to our house for a meal at least once a week so that we were all together.

“The boys are still so young but there are only seven of us now.”

Alan grew up in Pennyfern in Greenock, and developed a love of the arts.

He went to Glasgow School of Art to study architecture but was also a budding musician, playing the string piano in the band The Blue Notes.

During his student years he took a year out to head for London with his band and experience the 60s in full swing.

In 1965 he met his future wife Val and they have been together ever since, marrying in 1967 and settling in Alan’s home town.

Alan graduated from art school and ended up a partner in the leading Parr Architects, opening an office in Greenock.

During his career he designed the exhibition and conference centre in Glasgow and other buildings all over the country of that scale.

Locally he also designed the National Semi HQ, RBS Mortgage Centre in Greenock and the Waterfront Cinema.

In retirement Alan continued to play an influential role in his home town. He was involved with the Gourock Golf Club, Gourock Rotary and Gourock Curling Club as well as being active in Greenock Medical Aid, Stroke Matters Inverclyde and serving as a River Clyde Homes board member.

A talented man, Alan also turned his attention to painting to produce hundreds of portraits for family and friends.
Latterly he asked for donations and raised around £10,000 to support Disaster Aid, a Gourock Rotary Club charity helping deliver emergency relief in disaster zones.

Close friend David Burnie, aged 56, of Greenock, said: “My wife Elizabeth and I spent many happy times with Alan and Val.

“We spent Christmas with them and holidays and every year we would go to see Jools Holland together.

“I never saw him once lose his temper, except on the golf course!

“When Alan was diagnosed he felt it was important to get round and make sure he saw everybody.

“He was always the brightest person in the room, always so positive and a real family man.”